art, experiment, Laruelle, non-philosophy, philosophy, text, textuality, Uncategorized

Philo-fictions and Experimental Texts: Philosophy as Artistic “Whatever” Material

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A few years ago, I took a graduate seminar on experimental texts at Emory University. Some of the work I have done during my studies I have put up on Fractal Ontology, but I never included this one. I will run you through the basics of the project.

First, I wanted to showcase the “consumption” of philosophical texts that I have participated in over the course of my reading. This usually entails me, pen in hand, marking and re-marking texts with underlines, brackets and marginalia. At the end of the course, alongside my own reflection in text-form, I produced an artistic artifact. Basically, I ripped out the pages from 25 of my favorite–and most marked–texts, juxtaposed them as partial objects, and grafted and glued them onto a desk chair. So, the seat and center of the chair looks something like this:

IMG_0299Below, I will include my experimental essay reflecting on this project and the questionnaire I had to fill out for the project. Here is the questionnaire:

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code, decode, encode, flusser, gaze, image, metacode, photography, significance, surface, textuality

Notes on Vilém Flusser’s Philosophy of Photography: Chapter 1, the Image


Goraczka, Tomasz Setowski

Images are significant surfaces. This means that images signify, as well as make comprehensible as an abstraction, “something ‘out there’.” Images are reduced from “four dimensions of space and time” to “two surface dimensions.” (8)

Imagination is this specific ability to abstract surfaces out of space and time and to project them back into space and time. Imagination is the precondition for producing and decoding images. “The ability to encode phenomena into two-dimensional symbols and to read these symbols.” (8)

The significance of images is on the surface. A single glance remains superficial and doesn’t reconstruct the abstracted dimensions. One has to “allow one’s gaze to wander over the surface feeling the way as one goes” in order to enhance and deepen the significance. The path the gaze follows is “complex” and formed by the “structure of the image” and the “observer’s intentions.” (8) This is called ‘scanning’ and reveals the significance of the image. Therefore, it is a kind of synthesis between the intention manifested in the image and the intention belonging to the observer.

Images are not ‘denotative’ (unambiguous) complexes of symbols (like numbers, for example) but ‘connotative’ (ambiguous) complexes of symbols. Images provide space for interpretation. The space reconstructed by scanning is the space of mutual significance. The gaze produces specific relations between elements of the image. Scanning is thus a kind of eternal return: the gaze “can return to an element of the image it has already seen, and ‘before’ can come ‘after: the time reconstructed by scanning is an eternal recurrence of the same process.” (9)
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